I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Original Love/Mika Nakashima -- Seppun (Kiss) (接吻)

As I mentioned in the other article for Original Love's "Asahi no Ataru Michi"(朝日のあたる道), that was the tune that first exposed me to the existence of the band. Takao Tajima(田島貴男) created this nice mix of jazz and soul that caught my attention. The album that it came on, "Kaze no Uta wo Kike"(風の歌を聴け) , was released back in 1994. My curiosity for Original Love had me buying at least one more album and a single, before I discovered that even before "Asahi no Ataru Michi", there had been another great song that might be Tajima's most famous creation.

"Seppun", which came out in November 1993, was written and composed by vocalist Tajima, and it's the man's vocal tribute to the grand ol' art of lip-locking. "Seppun" actually does mean kissing, although like the word for "lion"...shishi...the English equivalent, "kissu", has long usurped the Japanese original. Tajima's lyrics of how much he craves those kisses are wrapped around by another jaunty blend of jazz and soul, although I think the latter is more in charge here. And I've always enjoyed the singer's particular delivery.....perhaps appealingly craggy is the only way I can describe it. It's just a fun song to listen to.

The song managed to peak at No. 13 on the Oricon weeklies and ended up as the 98th-ranked tune for 1994. It was also a track on Original Love's first BEST album, "Sunny Side of Original Love" which came out in December 1993 which got as high as No. 6. I think the video below is for the version from this album. By the way, the song was also used as the theme for an NTV drama called appropriately "Otona no Kiss"(大人のキッス...Adult Kiss).

According to J-Wiki, between the year that it was released and 2012, "Seppun" has gotten its accolades by the number of covers that have been done of the song. Singers from Akina Nakamori(中森明菜)to BENI have given their versions, but probably the most famous one is the one by Mika Nakashima(中島美嘉). Her cover came out in June 2003 as her 8th single, and is arranged as a slower reggae-style ballad. Tajima was apparently very pleased with her take on his song, which did even better on the charts, rising as high as No. 4.

Finally, I leave you with Tajima in concert performing "Seppun".


  1. When I had my first look at Tajima's face on this week's "Uta Kon", my first thought was:This guy looks like what would happen if you combined Masakazu Tamura and Ichiro Toba. And dang, he's tall. And his suit's nice. But somehow I couldn't tear my eyes away from that scowly face of his, and couldn't help but notice his unique voice. It just made "Seppun" much more enjoyable. I like its breezy melody quite a bit too. Hmm, I'm gonna check out your other articles on Original Love; I wonder if they're as cool as this one.

    While looking "Seppun" up on YouTube, I managed to find Masayuki Suzuki's version of it. It's got that smooth, funky vibe I've grown to expect from the cool cat. You can check it out in the link.

    Just a little trivia for you, J-Canuck: The kanji for "Seppun" are actually the same for "Kissing" in Chinese (guess I haven't completely lost my knowledge in the language after all).

    1. Hi, Noelle.

      To be honest, when I saw Tajima on stage the other night, I thought he looked like Anpanman with an amped-up coolness factor.:) Once again, I was surprised to see someone like him actually show up on an NHK kayo show. Of course, Mom just crabbed all throughout his performance since all she understands is enka and Mood Kayo but I was able to ignore that.

      I caught Martin's cover of "Seppun" and yep, it's done in that fine style of his. Still, I think I like the original version the best.

    2. Hahaha, cool Anpanman?!

      To a certain extent, I can kinda relate to your mother's crabbing - mine did as well, but for a different reason. I don't mind the likes of Tajima, and in fact I'm very pleased to see that I'm able to see them on TV, but AKB48 and their spin-off groups... not so much.

      I'm on the same boat with you in thinking that the original "Seppun" is best. But speaking of Suzuki, I read that he's going to be on the next "Uta Kon". Looking forward to that.

    3. Personally, I've been quite happy about some more inclusion of the non-enka acts although I get rather irked by my parents' crabbing. Not much I can do about that...they can't even understand the appeal of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones.

      As for the Alphabet groups, it's very much take-it-or-leave-it with me. If the song has got a good enough disco groove, I'm usually OK.

      I'll be interested to see what Martin has in store for us on Tuesday. I hope it's "Wakare no Machi" or "Mou Namida wa Iranai".


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